Review: High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson
Norva nudged the bag with her foot and an arm flopped out of the top. On the hand was a ring on each finger. This was a body and this body was Hugo.
The game was over.
(From High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson. P37).
The Tri Estate is home to budding detectives Nik and Norva, and they’ve just found resident Hugo dead in the garbage chute. Worse than that, their Dad is the only person with access to paint cans like the one which probably hit Hugo’s head, and the pair were witnessed falling out at a recent meeting.
100% certain their Dad isn’t guilty, however bad it looks, Nik and Norva set to work investigating all the possible suspects. And what’s this message Hugo received about the clock? The girls know Hugo dealt in antiques. Could he possibly have been killed over a valuable timepiece?
A cosy mystery with a Twenty-First century setting.
A new detective duo is on the block. Nik and Norva are the sister sleuths to rival all others. Until now, their investigations have covered fairly minor things, but suddenly there is a real crime with big stakes. They rise to the challenge like true pros and the result is a story which kept me turning the pages.
We have a great group of suspects, big questions about how the murder was possible and a strange message which was left for the victim before his death. Added to that is a great cast of side characters like George (the cool kid on the block who gets everywhere. Sees things) and Katie (whose job as a police officer has taken her away from The Tri, but whose heart still belongs with that community). The voices are so authentic that it was like being back in London. I grew up on the Central Line and recognised too well the divisions shown in the story. The communities living around the corner from each other but figurative worlds about.
Most importantly, this story reflected London authentically, in a way I have seen in very few children’s stories. Not so many years ago, the voices of my neighbours and friends weren’t reflected in fiction. I lived in this amazing place that was like the whole world pushed into a few square miles, but the world inside fiction was white and middle-class. This is still an issue because, although stories like High Rise Mystery are being published, only a tiny percentage have main characters who are not white. A big thumbs-up to Sharna Jackson for capturing the many voices and faces of London.
Anybody who follows my Twitter will know how much I love Nik’s character. From the opening pages I knew that, in many ways, Nik was like me. What caught my attention was the way she summarises situations in percentages. Whatever the question is, Nik wants the percentage breakdown. She’s analytical and quick to spot the significance of small details which other characters overlook. Her voice was so real I felt more like I had met her than read about her in a story, and I can’t wait to catch up with her next adventure.
A modern-day mystery which will appeal to fans of Murder Most Unladylike and another hit from new kids on the block Knights Of.
Thanks to Colour Pr and Knights Of for my gifted copy of High Rise Mystery. Opinions my own.